Judge Posner offers prescription for “fixing” the U.S. patent system

Judge Richard Posner, of the Seventh Circuits Court of Appeals, the most cited legal scholar of the 20th century according to an article in Daily Finance, has followed up his dismissal of the Apple and Motorola Mobility infringement lawsuits with a prescription for fixing the U.S. that many feel is, at best, wasteful.

In an opinion article published in The Atlantic, Posner postulates that too many worthless patents are clogging the system, interfering with the efficient processing of patents of more societal value (e.g., Pharma). Chief among Posner’s targets for criticism are patents in the technology world:  by the time a patent is approved, the technology has been superseded in the marketplace. He offered specific alternatives for change:

• Patent legal lives should match the realities of their respective industries;

• Compulsory licensing of patented inventions should be instituted;

• Replace jury trials for infringement cases with specialist panels under the auspices of USPTO;

• Remove non-practicing entities from the equation by requiring litigants to make or sell something based on patents in suit;

• Train federal judges who will hear patent cases.